Specialized Venge 2019
A Step-Change in Aero Road Bike Design
With nearly 20 race wins in 2018, and the 2016 World Championship title to its name, the Venge ViAS was the most successful aero road bike ever produced. So when Specialized sat down to try and further improve their aerodynamic masterpiece, nobody could foresee the game-changing advancements in design they would deliver with the third generation of Venge.
Not only have Specialized managed to improve the aerodynamic performance of their halo road bike, but they’ve slashed the weight and improved the handling; leaving many jaws on the floor in the process.
More Aero, More Speed
The bottom line is simple, the new Venge is 8 seconds faster than the 2018 ViAS over 40km at zero-degree yaw. An impressive statistic, determined by a fair test in Specialized’s Win Tunnel. But it’s in real-world conditions where the new tube shapes of the Venge really excel, offering unrivalled performance in a crosswind.
Developed from scratch, the frameset design process began with writing software which utilised a supercomputer to create a library of tube shapes with different weights, surface areas and structural targets. Specialized then tested mock-ups in their Win Tunnel, resulting in a range of framesets optimised with size-specific tube shapes for the best possible aerodynamic performance across the range of frame sizes.
While Specialized’s mantra of “Aero is Everything” applies to the genesis of the new Venge, the advantages of their design process are multiple, and this bike can no longer be judged by its incredible aerodynamic performance alone, as it offers so much more than that now.
“We created a bike that’s faster everywhere, over every kind of terrain and condition, while still improving aerodynamics, shedding weight, and perfecting responsiveness and handling.”
Specialized Design Team
Serious Weight Loss
By designing their aerodynamic tube shapes with as little material possible, Specialized have managed to shave off a whopping 460 grams from the overall weight, compared to the 2018 Venge ViAS. These weight savings contribute greatly to the bike’s real-world speed and acceleration. If you ride anywhere that’s not pancake-flat, you’ll notice these gains immediately.
The top-specification Specialized S-Works Venge Dura Ace Di2 Disc Road Bike weighs in at just 7.1kg in size 56cm. Simply put, this innovative approach to frameset design has resulted in an aerodynamic road bike that cannot be lighter. Or, a road bike this light cannot be more aerodynamic.
Handling and Geometry
Taking the much-lauded Tarmac SL6 as their aspirational goal in terms of handling, Specialized learnt that a little less stiffness in places improved the handling immensely. In order to comply with their own rigorous Rider-First Engineering philosophy, they’ve essentially had to design a new bike for each of the available sizes. Applying the right mixture of stiffness, responsiveness and lightweight material to the layup of the 2019 Venge has resulted in an aero road bike that handles superbly with a stiffness to weight ratio that has improved significantly.
The touch point geometry of the 2019 Venge is identical to that of the Tarmac SL6. While the latter features a taller stack, the Venge has a new headset with a top cap that routes the brake hoses into the frame, making up the difference in height while providing a neat and aesthetic cabling solution.
The Finer Details
The 2019 Venge is disc brake and electronic groupset compatible only. This might seem elitist or new-worldly to some, but bearing the “Aero is Everything” motto in mind, these design provisions make total sense. The frameset is the pinnacle of aerodynamics, delivering an incredibly clean aesthetic while every last detail has been considered.
The seatpost features a charging port for the Shimano Di2 groupset, maintaining a streamlined look while protecting it in the instance of a crash. Hydraulic brake cabling is routed into the headset top cap, hiding it from the airflow.
The S-Works Aerofly II cockpit is stiffer, lighter and even more aerodynamic than the first edition, while boasting a saving of 20 seconds on a 40km time trial compared to a round diameter handlebar. The handlebar and stem both offer standard clamping diameters, so you can swap out either component, for another internally cable routed compatible part, if required to find your perfect fit.
With tyre clearance of up to 32mm depending on the rim and tyre combination, this is an aero road bike with the capacity to deliver real comfort on less than perfect road surfaces.
Another innovation from Specialized is the provision of three bottle cage bosses on the downtube. This is to facilitate two different positions for your primary bottle. If using a secondary bottle on the seat tube, use the higher two bolts. If you’re using just one bottle, use the lower two bosses, keeping the weight of the bottle lower on the frame for better handling and stability.
Finally, an aero road bike exists that does not compromise on weight, handling or complexity. The all-new, third-generation Venge outperforms its predecessor in every imaginable area. It’s faster than a Venge ViAS 2018 and lighter than a Tarmac SL5 2017.
Time will tell exactly how much the game has changed.